Those younger readers among you may have looked at this morning's ZX Spectrum Google Doodle with confusion. The front page of Google UK is adorned with a relatively tiny Spectrum-themed doodle depicting St. George slaying a dragon (it's also St. George's Day today). The image's size of 256 x 192 pixels is the maximum resolution the Spectrum could output, and it's rendered in the computer's splendid 8-bit color. But why is the ZX Spectrum worth celebrating?
The brainchild of inventor Clive Sinclair, the rainbow-bearing ZX Spectrum was the first computer that captured the British public's attention. Priced at £125, it was in a completely different price category to the Apple II or Commodore 64, and was half the price of its nearest competitor, the BBC Micro. It featured a 3.5MHz CPU, either 16kB or 48kB of RAM, and a cassette deck for reading and writing data. The computer was immensely popular — Sinclair sold over five million ZX Spectrums, and was many a Brit's first foray into computing. The BBC posted an interview with two of the creators of the Spectrum today, and it's well worth a read for anyone interested in the history of computers.